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What is prejudice?


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A few months ago James Watson of Double Helix fame, got into trouble for saying that coloured people are not as bright as white people according to provable, scientific fact (Gallileo'But it moves'). If this is so, then why the furore? If it was propaganda, aimed at keeping black people in their place, then yes it should be disputed but if it is true then it is a position to be worked from. As with Emotional Intelligence this doesn't mean we poor white people aren't better adapted for the heat than our darker skinned cousins and for us to be out in the Tropics is itself stupid and that maybe we should get back to where we belong, rather than force ourselves to live in conditions we're not properly adapted to.


I'm not just on about colour but sexism, homophobia and attacks upon people because of their beliefs. The scientific, rational (nuetral) stance is of difference/ same/ similar as political hatred talks of better/ worse (emotional reaction). The knee jerk reaction of Islamic countries to something like a cartoon or a film, is over the top and is itself proof of fear - not amongst Muslims themselves but the frightened wannabe's amongst them, out to prove their worth (A rational person is a rational person and their sex, sexual persuasion, race, beliefs (political or religious) is not affected by the fear that drives the insecure.


Prejudice is a defence reaction to percieved threats (not necessarily real ones), by those who fear loss of the loved one/ belief. It keeps 'the other' at arms length, for fear of contamination (contagion abberation). This is seen most often in the mentally challenged (Those with learning difficulties) as opposed to those with physical problems because they don't have the mental weaponry to defend themselves with (innocent). This is why in the playground they are more likely to get bullied or be upset by it.


This is why prejudice is a generalised attack because the truth is never known or investigated (Passive prejudice excludes as with appartheid or the Berlin Wall - active prejudice is the attempt to push away the feared individual or group, through verbal or physical abuse and the former is sometimes the only way to control that violence by creating physical barriers between the fighting factions: 'Good fences make good neighbours').


Why is it that some people in certain groups get attacked but other do not? Could it be trying to force groups together rather than letting them find a common ground, only makes the situation worse? (Freedom of choice works - force and trying to do the right thing (Political Correctness), only keeps the wounds of hate open). Segregation is as necessary (Ghettoes)for people to feel safe with what they consider their own kind as No Mans Land is necessary, for the exchange of differences by those bored with the limits of their existences (conformist culture/ beliefs).


I hope these few thoughts will stimulate a few new ideas because this is not the end of this debate and I'm sure new thoughts, new inniatives can come from moving this out into the open (Not too much hatred I hope but I expect some people will react without reading all of the post):)

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To complicate matters, there are two types of prejudice - positive and negative (pro/ anti). The former describes what we want to be part of (Keeping up with the Jones's) and the latter what we're ashamed to be associated with being a part of - call it class warfare by any other name. It's all about belonging/ not belonging - initiation ceremonies/ breaking the mould - turning your back on the past and looking to a new future: Gang warfare(youth crime/ political factions) includes this as it's about disenfranchisement (white settlers/ foreign invaders). Reality is a sellers market (Magic tricks to draw our attention to one world or another, until disillusionment sets in (working out how you were tricked and therefore seeing it as cheap and tawdry)and you drift away, looking for new adventure, new ideas, new excitement.

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Related to this is the latest discovery about sleep and waking hours, reinforcing our beliefs about the world.


A Horizon TV program on sleep (psychologists, Dr Tim Green & Prof. Ian Robbins)also connects with this, in that it found sensory deprivation led to a slowing down of the brains reactions (withdrawal from life/ external awareness) and as Brian Keening pointed out, a loss of identity and feelings of unreality about the world as well as hallucinations and delusions naturally associated with this state (see Michael Angelica thread on Schizophrenia as it too ties into this as does Stanislav Grof's work on Spiritual Emergency and Kazimierz Dabrowski's recent rediscovery of the same need for breakdown in the human spirit, leading to reinvention).


The volunteers memories (identity/ certainty) went after only 48 hours, proving that sleep is a deprogramming stage in existence as being awake reprogrammes us (tells us who we are and where we are through sensory feedback). Even on the physical level, food and hunger have to be seen as sleep/ activity components: Change is as good as a rest. All periods of unconsciousness from thought, sleep through to death are about deprogramming as all consciousness is reprogramming and as such, not as sinister to the scientist (Manchurian candidate) as simply explanatory for human behaviour in the inclusion/ exclusion zone and just as necessary (Patti Hurst and the Stockholm Syndrome).


In terms of individuals and civilzations, the significance of this is that, we all cannot help be start off ignorant, dozy louts and it is only with time that we make the connections that helps us fit into this world, mentally, socially and physically. Like George Romero implied, we are slothful zombies, shuffling aimlessly about, blinded by the light until we become enlightened - then we speed up our responses and bond more with reality: Giant despair and tiny hope (expanded and shrunken consciousness).


This also I think explains night owls and larks as a slingshot effect or catapult ratio (The further you sink into unconsciousness, the further you can reach into hyper-consciousness): Sex as a build up of speed, leading to a climax and collapse back into unconsciousness (Rhythm and pulse of life (movement), found in all areas of nature, from the tides, seasons etc to the circulation of blood inside).


Why are scientists less likely to be prejudiced than others? Because their curiosity leads them to explore and go beyond barriers that ignorance sets up (The ignorant generalise, the bold seek specific answers, to specific questions).

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